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Markus Liebherr
Personal information
Full name Markus Liebherr
Date of birth 29 September 1947 (1947-09-29) (age 62)
Place of birth Germany
Playing position Owner

Markus Liebherr is a German born, Swiss businessman and a member of one of Europe’s top family business dynasties.

He is a son of the late Hans Liebherr, who started the company Liebherr, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction machinery, set up over 60 years ago in Germany.

Markus was given equal shares in the German holding company in the 1980s when the business moved its management headquarters to Switzerland.

In his higher education career, Markus studied engineering with an agricultural focus.

He later handed most of his shares back to his family, and he has been running his own group of companies, the Mali Group, since 1994.

He bought English Football League One side Southampton in July 2009, which took the club out of administration.

The MALI Group

The Mali group contains five independent businesses, all belonging to the MALI Markus Liebherr International group whose head offices are in Fribourg, Switzerland.

● One of the companies is CRT Common Rail Technologies AG based in Beringen, Switzerland – a business concerning the ‘research and design of common rail systems’.

● Another of his companies is Mali Motan AG, also based in Beringen and concerning the ‘manufacturing and sales of CVT transmissions and common rail systems.”

● A third company is the German-based BSG Bodensee Steuergeräte – its primary business being the ‘research, design, manufacturing and sales of electronic control units for common rail injection and transmissions.”

● MALI Spezialfahrzeuge GmbH based in Eberhardzell, Germany, concerns ‘research and design transmission technology.’

● MALI Spezialfahrzeugbau GmbH, based in Elbe, Germany, deals with ‘research, design, manufacture and sale’ of offroad vehicles.

The group’s website says: “Our ideology is dealing with the development of leading-edge products oriented at the market that follow technologically new ways and show ecologically a large potential.”

Southampton Football Club

On 8 July 2009, 98 days after Southampton Leisure Holdings, Southampton’s former holding company, had been placed in administration, Markus Liebherr’s bid to buy the club had been successfully completed. The total amount he had paid has not been disclosed but it is believed to be around £13-15 Million.

Once the deal had been completed, the administrator of the holdings company, Mark Fry, told the Southern [Daily Echo]: “I am absolutely delighted the takeover has been completed.”

“I am not only delighted that it has been completed but also that it has gone to who we feel was the right buyer.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us along the way - the fans, staff, players and all the media for all their coverage.”[1]

Markus Liebherr will now install a new CEO and board of directors. On the 9th July 2009, Andy Oldknow, was given the position of CEO at the club.[2]

Below is a statement released by the club:

Southampton Leisure Holdings Plc Joint Administrator Mark Fry today confirms that DMWSL613 Limited has acquired the Company's assets, principally Southampton Football Club for an undisclosed sum.

The purchaser is owned and controlled by Markus Liebherr, 61, who is a Swiss national. Markus Liebherr also owns and controls the Swiss-based Mali Group, which consists of five companies engaged in technologically advanced engineering.

Mark Fry and his team from Begbies Traynor who have been in talks with a number of interested parties, were impressed by Markus Liebherr and his team's commitment and plans for the Club.

Joint Administrator Mark Fry commented: "The sale of the Saints to Markus Liebherr is a fantastic opportunity to rebuild the Club.

Markus Liebherr was attracted to Southampton by a number of qualities which include the Club's rich sporting heritage, loyal fan base, first class stadium and training facilities and the potential for the Saints to regain their rightful place at the higher echelons of English football.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all Saints' fans for their support and patience in what have been uncertain times for the Club. I would also like to wish both Markus and the Club well for future success."

Below is part of Markus Liebherr’s Statement:

"I believe we have a superb opportunity to rebuild this great Club. Clearly, this will require resources, planning, hard work and patience. We will assemble a strong management team at every level of the Club. We will act rapidly, but also plan for the long term, because I am here for the long term.

"I also look forward to the Club re-engaging with the fans and the local community. We cannot succeed without their backing.

"We should not expect instant success, but our fans, employees and other stakeholders can expect 100 per cent commitment from me and my team."[3]

References

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